During the Strategic Planning process at Abbeville UMC I have observed lots of creativity, excitement and ideas that will grow God's work in and through Abbeville UMC. I was reflecting about these ideas and the creativity that produced them and asked myself a question ... "What is the healthiest model for the generation and improvement of ministry?"
While I don't claim to know the answer to this question, I do have a few observations from the past. The first is this ... I believe ministry functions best as a bottom-up proposition. The ministries I have seen grow and flourish are those that start from a seed God plants in the heart of the people He calls His Church. That seed grows and takes hold and blooms into something good, hopefully catalyzed by the leadership of the Church. To quote Hannibal from the A-team, "I love it when a plan comes together!"
The second comment relates to partnership. While it is truly amazing that God desires to partner with someone like me, I am honored and energized that I can choose to partner with the God that created the universe. In a sense, all acts of ministry are really "Communion" (union with) between God, us and those we are serving in that ministry. There is something holy and sacred in the inception, planning, startup and process of a ministry. If it is truly a "ministry," God is there ... the people we are helping are there ... we are there. It is God offering us to the world saying ... "This is My body given to the world ... this is My blood, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins." We truly become those "elements" symbolized by juice and bread but lived-out in the lives of God's Church. "Lord ... thank You for being my partner in ministry (though You are in partnership with an inept and inadequate companion). Thank You for being the power behind the ministry, for I have no power of my own. Thank You for making me useful, usable and used in the work You are doing. Let my eyes and ears be open to Your plans. Let my heart be open to the people who need You through the ministries of AUMC. Let the obstacles to Your work (including me) be overcome and let my laziness and pride become less so You can become more. Always let the work be Your work. And let our partnership acknowledge that You are the leader, the senior partner, the CEO and the reason for all that is done. AMEN!" Randy